The Cambodian government has cancelled a 14,981-hectare concession in the Cardamom mountains granted to an Australian firm for a banana plantation, the conservation group Wildlife Alliance has reported.
Wildlife Alliance has long lobbied against the concession in Koh Kong province’s southern cardamom forest on which Indochina Gateway Capital Limited planned a banana plantation.
The project had come under heavy criticism from Wildlife Alliance over concerns it would destroy precious endangered animal habitats.
Suwanna Gauntlett, CEO of Wildlife Alliance, which runs a conservation program in the area in conjunction with the government, said yesterday Prime Minister Hun Sen had done the right thing by cancelling the concession on July 2.
“We are thrilled that this has happened and we have campaigned for this for 18 months,” she said. “This is one more sign of the government’s commitment to protect the Cardamoms.”
The concession was cancelled because of fears about its social and environmental impact and the damage it would do to biodiversity in a so-called “elephant corridor”, according to Wildlife Alliance.
It also exceeded a 10,000-hectare restriction on Economic Land Concessions in the 2001 Land Law.
Koh Kong provincial governor Bun Leut declined to comment and officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries could not be reached.
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